17 September 2008

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note

Secretary-General appoints nicolas michel of switzerland special adviser,

mediator of Equatorial Guinea-gabon border dispute


The Secretary-General has appointed Nicolas Michel of Switzerland as the Special Adviser and Mediator of the Border Dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.  The parties have been informed about the decision.

Mr. Michel, who served as United Nations Legal Counsel from August 2005 to 1 September 2008, will bring a distinguished career combining diplomatic and legal skills, as well as recognized impartiality and commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes.  He handled the mediation of the border dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon as one of many sensitive issues under his purview as United Nations Legal Counsel.

Prior to his appointment as United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Michel served as the Legal Adviser of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.  He was Chairman of the Committee of the Legal Advisors on Public International Law of the Council of Europe (CAHDI) in 2003 and 2004, and also chaired many international committees and meetings.  Mr. Michel is currently a professor of international law at the University of Geneva and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Mr. Michel holds degrees in law from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, as well as a Master of Arts in international relations from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.  He is a licensed attorney-at-law.  He is also the author of numerous books and articles on international and European law.

Born on 7 November 1949, Mr. Michel is married with children.

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*     This supersedes Press Release SG/A/1047-BIO/3849 of 9 February 2007.

For information media • not an official record